Light up the grill, pass me the steaks and hand me a beer, Memorial Day weekend is here!
Hand me an ice cold Michelob Ultra, a bacon cheeseburger fresh off the grill and let me get ready to sit back and enjoy a three-day weekend of grilling and chilling.
Honestly though let’s get serios for a minute and remember what the holiday really commemorates. On this federal holiday we recognize, honor and mourn the many military personnel who died while in service to our great Country.
The true heroes who fought to preserve our rights, liberties and freedom – the American soldier.
And many of these brave heroes were women. In fact, in nearly every war, women were among the fatalities and all while serving our country.
Twenty-two women died during the Spanish American War, several hundred during World War I, and more then 400 during World War II.
Women in service died during the Korean Conflict, the Vietnam War, Dessert Storm and Iraq War. These trailblazing women are rarely mentioned, yet they also gave the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedoms.
And while we are at it, let us also recognize and honor the many pioneering women who served our country, some who are still us and others who served but were not killed during conflict.
Like Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody, the first woman to serve as a four-star general in both the Army and the U.S. armed forces.
Or Grace Brewster Murray Hopper who was an American computer scientist and United States Navy rear admiral. She was one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer, and a pioneer of computer programming who invented one of the first linkers. Hopper was the first to devise the theory of machine-independent programming languages, and the FLOW-MATIC programming language she created using this theory was later extended to create COBOL, an early high-level programming language still in use today.
And Eileen Marie Collins who is a retired NASA astronaut and United States Air Force colonel. A former military instructor and test pilot, Collins was the first female pilot and first female commander of a Space Shuttle.
Second Lieutenant Elsie Ott was the first woman to receive the United States Air Medal. She was awarded this medal in recognition of her heroism in determining a way to evacuate the wounded from the front line.
Did you know that legendary actress Bea Arthur was once in the Marines? Arthur was once a truck driver in the Marine Corps. She was one of the first members of the Women's Reserve and, aside from driving military trucks, Arthur was also a typist. She enlisted at the age of 21 in early 1943 under her original name, Bernice Frankel.
I was fascinated to discover so many stories and facts about women who have courageously served our country, some even during the Civil War while disguised as men.
Anyone interested in learning more should check out this website: https://www.army.mil/women/index.html
I would also like to take a second and honor some military women, who died while in service but not due to a war.
Let’s take a second to bow our heads for Vanessa Guillén, a 20-year-old U.S. Army soldier who was murdered on April 22, 2020 inside a Fort Hood, Texas, armory by another enlisted soldier, Aaron David Robinson, age 20.
And 30-year-old Staff Sgt. Jessica Mitchell and 19-year-old Pfc. Asia M. Graham, both found dead in Texas. Mitchell, a drill sergeant assigned to the U.S. Army Medical Center for Excellence at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, was shot to death around 2:30 a.m. on New Year's Day while driving on Interstate 10 in San Antonio, and Graham was found unresponsive in her barracks room at Fort Bliss on New Year’s Eve and pronounced dead by emergency personnel.
Of course, I would like to recognize and honor all the great men who have served our Country, especially those still with us who are residents of Liberty County.
I appreciate you all for your dedication and devotion to the U.S.A. This weekend, as I contemplate all the freedoms I get to enjoy, I will definitely crack open a cold beer and offer a toast in your honor.
Happy Memorial Day and thank you for your service!